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The Mississippi barrier island that vanished

There are six barrier islands on the Mississippi Gulf Coast: Ship Island, Deer Island, Cat Island, Round Island, Horn Island, and Petit Bois Island. While you can reach all of these islands by private boat, Ship Island is the only one that offers a ferry service. All of these islands have something to offer visitors such as swimming and fishing. There is, however, maybe a less known barrier island that used to offer a lot to its visitors for a short period of time. It is known as the Isle of Caprice, and it has since vanished.

The Isle of Caprice’s original name was Dog Key Island, as it first appeared on a map in 1847. It disappeared in 1859 and then resurfaced again. It is now under the water’s surface. In the 1920s, the island was bought by three Biloxi businessmen who wanted to create an island resort. At the time, alcohol was illegal because of prohibition. However, alcohol could be served on the island because it was far enough offshore.

The Isle of Caprice held its grand opening on May 30, 1926, which featured luxury accommodations, a dance hall, casino, a cafe, and plenty to do such as fishing, boating, marathons, swimming, and games!

Photo from Mississippi Gulf Coast Time Traveler/Facebook

Visitors could get to the island via four ferry excursion boats that would go back and forth between Biloxi and the Isle of Caprice Resort. The island was about 12 miles from the Biloxi coastline, so the trip took 90 minutes and cost 75 cents per person. The picture below is one of the vessels that would carry individuals back and forth to the island.

Photo from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

What Eventually Happened to the Island?

There were a number of reasons why the island’s success was short-lived. For one, the Depression occurred in 1929, only three years after the resort opened. Also, a hurricane essentially cut the island in two. More storms came and eroded the island to the point that the island submerged completely by 1932. At one point, the only indication of the island’s existence was a pipe that stuck out of the water (the pipe provided the island’s water supply).


Written by Tamra Cater

I am married, and I also have a 4-year-old daughter. I earned my Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi, and I have been teaching psychology classes over the past 10 years. As a professor and as a parent, I grew to love learning anything about child development. I recently turned that into a passion for helping other parents by starting my own blog at


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